AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
The race for Pennsylvania Governor between Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano is set to be one of the most high-profile battles this election season. As the summer has heated up so too has Shapiro’s rhetoric, with the current Pennsylvania Attorney General calling Mastriano a “real and present danger” to Pennsylvanians. To hear Shapiro tell it, a Mastriano victory would mean the effective end of democracy in Pennsylvania. So why did Shapiro’s campaign spend hundreds of thousands of dollars helping Mastriano win the Republican primary?
According to campaign finance disclosures, Shapiro spent more than $840,000 on television ads designed to boost Mastriano in the Republican primary – more than double what Mastriano’s own campaign spent. Shapiro also sent out mailers and other campaign literature in support of Mastriano, likely helping his successful campaign cruise to a comfortable victory in early June.
Shapiro is far from the only Democrat to employ this strategy. In Illinois, Democrats spent $30 million helping State Senator Darren Bailey win his primary for the governor’s race. In Colorado, Democrats desperately tried to elevate state Rep. Ron Hanks over businessman Jim O’Dea in the GOP Senate primary, even sending out mailers that illegally failed to disclose who funded them. (O’Dea defeated Hanks 54%-45% on June 28.) Democrat PACs also tried the same strategy to take down University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl in her bid for the Republican nomination for governor – again unsuccessfully.
For Democrats, the goal of this tactic is clear: get Republican candidates nominated who – according to Democrat strategists – are “too conservative” to win a general election. In Pennsylvania, conventional wisdom during the primary was that former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, not Mastriano, was the best Republican bet to win the general election. In Colorado, O’Dea and Ganahl were viewed as the biggest threats to incumbent Democrat Senator Michael Bennet and incumbent Democrat Governor Jared Polis, respectively, while several candidates in the Illinois gubernatorial primary were viewed as having better odds than Bailey of defeating Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker.
But history has shown that Washington strategists are often far from the geniuses they consider themselves to be, and both the Republican and Democrat party establishments have mixed records at best in spotting the strongest candidates. As a result, Democrats’ strategy of boosting the Republicans they consider less “electable” could ultimately backfire spectacularly, in more ways than one.
The clearest example of how out-of-touch the political class can be came in 2016, when the Democratic establishment and media class first dismissedDonald Trump as a viable candidate, and then salivated over the prospect of a Trump-Clinton matchup in the general election, believing that Trump was the weakest of all the GOP hopefuls. Today, Trump is the most popular national political figure in the country.
Back in 2016, the Clinton campaign also embraced the same strategy down-ballot, attempting to boost candidates seen as “too conservative” in Republican primaries as a means of discrediting Trump’s budding political movement. As a leaked internal Clinton campaign memo said, “We don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party… We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously.” In other words, pick the candidate with seemingly the longest odds and pour resources into boosting their primary campaigns.
Soon, however, Democrats and the media would learn that it was theywho had badly misread the public mood. Not only did Trump win the presidency, but Republicans won majorities in the House and Senate as well.
Many of the candidates who Democratic strategists believed were “too conservative” because they talked about standing up to the left and “making America great again” were actually speaking to voters in a way that resonated and led to a wave of general election victories.
A similar phenomenon occurred in the Virginia Governor’s race last year, when Democrat Terry McAuliffe spent millions of dollars trying to tie Republican Glenn Youngkin to Trump, and succeeded only in turning out the Trump base in rural Virginia, a major factor in putting Youngkin over the edge.
Even last year in a state Biden had won by nearly ten points, this proved a losing strategy for Dems. But at a time when polls show Trump would beat Biden handily in a head-to-head matchup, swing-state Democrats attacking Republican candidates as being the most “Trump-like” of their GOP primary rivals may, like McAuliffe, be pursuing an almost comically self-defeating campaign strategy.
Despite their poor track record in choosing Republicans to run against, it increasingly appears that Democrats risk repeating the same mistakes yet again in 2022. Often wrong but never in doubt, the Democrats and even many in the Republican establishment have dismissed many of these supposedly weaker candidates as “extremists” and “threats to democracy” because they dare to talk about issues like election integrity. It does not seem to occur to them that Republican candidates are talking about these issues because they are ones that many voters deeply care about, whether the media will cover them or not. The left has once again bought into its own propaganda about what people should care about and confused it with what people actually care about.
Moreover, this attempt to meddle in Republican primaries reveals the naked lust for power that animates the modern Democratic Party. After all, if Democrats truly believed that pro-Trump candidates were a “threat to democracy,” should they not be trying to defeat them in the primary as well? It’s hard to decide which would be worse: that Democrats would treat their opponents as domestic security threats without really believing it, or that they would seek to elevate those candidates despite actually believing their own rhetoric. Either way, the strategy is deeply cynical.
Given public polling, Democrats are understandably desperate for any edge at the ballot box this November. But if history and common sense are any indication, trying to pick and choose which Republican is the “best” to run against isn’t going to do them much good.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
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Josh Shi*paro should be in prison.
The only way Democrats can win is to play dirty which is what they do best.
It will serve the democrats right if their meddling does backfire.
If you’re getting your choice by watching a 30 second campaign ad, you’re lazy. If you want to know who to vote for just go shopping, fill up the car/truck/RV, or turn on your AC… If you enjoy 18% inflation against 5% pay increases, spiking home electris/natural gas costs and $5-6/gallon gas by all means VOTE DEMOCRAT.
The Democrats are wasting their time. With Biden’s poll numbers in the toilet and will continue to go down, no matter who they pick it will be a waste for them
Never underestimate the fact that not enough people vote and too many stupid ones do!
It’s funny to see Democrats always saying Republicans are going to get rid of Democracy when it’s actually them that does everything to destroy democracy! Hell they do’t even realize roe V Doss going back to the states IS actually a move toward Democracy because the people in the states can vote for or against it or it’s limitation. Democrats wouldn’t know crap if they stepped in it.
Democrat involvement in Colorado for sure, just not as described; that’s why pro-abortion John O’Dea won this “primary” just like his cohorts, more like srraight ticket RiNO selection.
We need smaller government! The more departments that do nothing and take so much money from the taxpayers to operate; the worse it gets. Government grows like an out of control fungus!
Start by moving the Department of Education (indoctrination) back to the States where the cost and operation can be monitored by each States voters. Since this Department has been formed the cost has risen 400% AND THE RANKINGS HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO EMBARRASSMENT COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRY’S!!! I WONDER WHY? NOT REALLY! WE KNOW.
OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS NEED TO BE REDUCED IN SIZE AND MOVED FROM DC AND PUT IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY BY SECTIONS.
The practice of voting in the opposite party’s primaries to nominate someone you consider easier for your party to beat in the election is dirty politics. It denies the members of the other party their constitutional right to select their preferred representative of their beliefs. It is proof that so called “open” primaries in which voters are free to cross party lines should be illegal.
Communists dont care! “ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS” in their world, obviously because “the people” would never vote for their tripe if they were honest about what they were selling.
edward: I agree whole heartedly!
in Illinois we have no real conservative candidates. only, a lot of trash.
Here in West Virginia, we were inundated throughout June with daily mailings condemning Joe Manchin. I now wish I had kept one of them to research the group who supposedly sent them.
Their basic approach was “Who, really, is Joe Manchin?”. It lacerated him for the times when he compromised with Biden, never giving credit when he stood against outrageous leftist ideas.
I believe this may have been a tactic of the same people about whom you speak, out to devour one of its own because he fails to march lockstep.
BTW, i love your characterization of these oh so superior elitist intellectuals as “often wrong, but never in doubt”. Hope you don’t mind if I adopt the phrase.
doesn’t matter. they change their organization names minute by minute. they hide under rocks.
We’ve seen the opposite fraud in Georgia. Democrats voted Republican on the primary ballot for GOP incumbents (& spectacular failures in dealing with fraud in the 2020 election) Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (who was solely responsible for The vile Dominion voting machines & a secret agreement with Stacy Abrams on drop boxes). These two RINOS handed the election to Biden – as well as removing both GOP Senators, giving majority rule to Dems in the U.S.Senate. Dems wanted to run their candidates (especially Abrams) against weaker, corrupt Republicans to increase their chances of winning in the Peach state this year. Disgusting!
we know. not sure we can stop the destruction of free elections. what we all want to hear is we’re not going to ALLOW the same outcome again. don’t hold your breath.
In your opinion. Opinions like this will do nothing except help Abrams win.
I read somewhere that Biden’s sister is married to a higher up in the voting machine company. Could AMAC investigate and run an article on this?
The motto is lie, cheat and steal from Americans!
Read Kevin McCullough from Townhall.com” The Left Truly Is Evil ( Not Stupid!) “. In the Right to Life Movement, we have known it for 50 years.
The FACT that MONEY is the anchor for every election, and not the credibility of the candidates, should cause us to rethink contributing to either Party. The RNC and…the DNC, which will not happen, need to get a new strategic plan in exposing their candidates very lives. Whether they have Christian moral values and who and what charities they support! This is imperative for Americans to get a real look and feel for the persons they plan on voting for. Right now all they do is beg for money and the candidates complain about what the Marxists are doing to the country, and not willing to take a stand for what truly makes this country free!! ‘GOD AND COUNTRY’ is what it’s supposed to come down to! Now perversion is so rampant in our country because weak kneed GOP politicians caved to the Lefts continual pleas for sexual and gender equality. They are NEVER satisfied with what they want. They are godless and mentally deficient of right and wrong. When God was still the major focus in this nation, none of this degradation in our society should have been allowed to gain a foothold!
The Left are devious tricksters and have gotten their playbook from Satan himself.
I digress, we will need to hold the candidates running for office under the microscope. That is the only way we will learn who they really are. Stop sending money, and tell them there is POWER in Prayer.
Pray for our election to be fair and legal. States that have mail-in voting, or voting online, (which is the lamest thing I’ve heard of yet), take your filled out ballot to the voting precinct or a trusted drop! Some have no choice but mailing in their ballots, but it’s not so many to make an overwhelming difference in the vote counts.
I’m not sure of either party anymore?
This reminds me of my Republican mother-in-law voting in the 2008 Democrat primary for Barack Hussein Obama instead of Hillary Clinton, sure in her conviction that Obama had no chance whatsoever of winning the general election . . . didn’t turn out so well in retrospect . . . moral of the story being let the opposition make its own mistakes!
Let’s not overlook the worst kind of traitors…rinos. IE. Mitch McConnell among to many others, often hob-nobbing with Schumer and Pelosi. Two many “republicans” have thrown in with the traitor demorats.
I can’t help but wonder if this may be the last ‘free’ election this nation ever sees again…the demorats have no compunction about lying, fraud, “eliminating” or any way to gain absolute rule…
Remember that sin, and rationalizing sin and error, actually changes the malefactor’s brain chemistry, so that they can no longer think clearly. That, I believe, is why so many of the current US admin’s leaders are making one bad decision after another. They really can’t tell the difference between right and wrong, wise and stupid.
Today’s Democrats are the most slimy, filthy politicians in several generations of politicians. They play dirty and will do anything to retain or seize power. WE must stop them by exposing their activities and show them as the untrustworthy people they are. Despicable people, all of them.
Democrat dishonesty, corruption, and voter fraud has no limits. Just this alone reminds you there is every reason to believe the democrat commit voter fraud constantly.
Every democrat in american is treasonous and should be shot.